ABOUT OUR VENUE – THE BROMLEY COURT HOTEL
Although Lewisham & Penge are a relatively small Rotary Club, we meet at one of South London’s foremost hotels. Situated in large landscaped gardens, we are very lucky to hold our meetings in the Hotel’s restaurant and thereafter adjourn to a meeting room to conduct Rotary business and hear a speaker.
A stroll round The Bromley Court Hotel’s beautiful two acres of landscaped gardens will give more than a hint of its historic past. Large clay urns, a favoured backdrop for today’s wedding photographers, were part of the original Italianate gardens created in the early 1800s.
Stop to admire the planting along the walkway under the ornate metal arches and you will be standing in the same spot as Canadian soldiers who leased the building during World War One. Walk along the terrace and tread in the footsteps of World War Two fighter pilots, including one of the former owner’s sons, RAF pilot Antony Frenkel.
Today, the 117-bedroom hotel has undergone a transformation – its Garden Restaurant has been redesigned, bedrooms have been refurbished and the public areas have been modernised. But its rich and varied history is proudly displayed in artwork on the walls.
Bromley Court hasn’t always been a hotel. It was built around 1800 as a country estate for Charles Long, who was Baron Farnborough, a government minister and confidant of Regency Kings George IV and William IV, who were among Bromley Court’s visitors. Long was a lover of art and culture and was a founder of the Royal Academy of Arts, the Royal institute of British Architects and the British Museum. His artist wife, Amelia, designed the Italianate Gardens with the urns and terracing that can still be seen today.
Other key historical figures that visited Bromley Court included Prime Ministers William Pitt the Younger and the Duke of Wellington, William Wilberforce and Charles Darwin.
Bromley Court became a hotel in 1904 and has been owned since 1931 by the family of its current chairman, Clare Acker.
Having survived London’s blitz, the hotel later received a visit from Prime Minister Harold Macmillan who held a cabinet meeting in the owner’s flat while he was MP for Bromley.
The hotel’s ballroom played its part in the Swinging Sixties as a famous music venue for the The Bromley Jazz Club, hosting many well-known acts including Manfred Mann, Cream, The Who, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Pink Floyd. Jimi Hendrix started his Experience Tour at the hotel before playing Chislehurst Caves.
Today, the Bromley Court is a popular wedding and conference venue as well as a place to meet, stay and dine for both locals and tourists to the area. It continues to celebrate its musical legacy with regular events featuring a range of artists.
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